First, some context: Neither I nor MathMan come from families where open communication is practiced. We don't belong to families that talk about icky things like feelings, bodily functions, or sex. Well, I take that back. My mother, The Big R, has a very odd, self-conscious way of mentioning bodily functions, usually delivered half-whispered.
And I suppose regarding normal human waste elimination activities, there were certain truths in my childhood home. Soon after food passed through her esophagus, The Big R would disappear into the bathroom with a crossword puzzle*. We all simply accepted this and, as such, conceded that going out to dinner would be limited to places with clean restrooms or had to be within short driving distance of home.
As is often the case, these things are hereditary, so I have a child with this same affliction. We are used to watching her food get cold as we eat a meal. Three bites in and she's excused herself.
I, on the other hand, was the puker in the family. Carsick. Whatever went around school. Didn't matter. I got it and hurled. (Note: I promise this is not going to become the vomit/poo blog. Yet***.)
As an example of how this ties in to communication, how's this:
My mother doesn't say fart, she says "pass gas."
MathMan's mother (may she rest in peace) used the charming phrase "let out air."
Now I've gone and wandered off topic. Let me circle back. I don't really mean to write about farting any more than I intend to write about poop. Let me begin again.....Neither MathMan nor I grew up in families where things were discussed openly. And by things, I mean bodily functions, most especially those that might be tangentially related to S-E-X or sexuality.
I don't know if it's a result of the more open era that we grew up in or just some quirk of personality, but MathMan and I have underdeveloped filters when it comes to discussing "personal" issues in front of our children. Now this is to their dismay and it may turn them into completely repressed Victorians, but that's a chance we're willing to take. It would be impossible to put the Inappropriate Genie back in the bottle, I suspect.
Now that I've laid the many layers of groundwork, I'll just move on, shall I? You see, it's common knowledge at Golden Manor that Mama (that's me) is currently equipped with an IUD that contains some hormones. A happy side effect of this is that Mama (that's still me) doesn't have much of a period. (Are you still with me?) This is really nice and all because menstrual periods, though perfectly natural and necessary, can be incredibly inconvenient and, for some, a real, live sickening pain. I was always lucky that way. I've never really suffered cramps and would probably, if confronted with the industrial strength cramps that some women must endure, crumple into a heap of sweating, vomiting, and wailing agony. (Smelling salts, anyone?)
My most easily identifiable manifestations of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are a marked increase in my need to consume chocolate and, just maybe, a tendency to be a bit weepy if presented with something like those Sarah McLachlin ads for the puppies and kitties with the overlay of that Arms of the Angels song. Otherwise, I'm rather oblivious to my cycles. If MathMan notices anything, he never mentions it. (Glass of water for Mr. Grainger?)
Some months, though, I'll feel a little more out of sorts than usual or have a twingy backache or maybe feel bloaty and unusually puffy. To confirm that it's hormone-related, I tend to check in with the other person in the house who is of childbearing age.
Sunday evening, The Dancer, MathMan, Garbo and I were playing Scattegories as part of our weekly game night. (You thought I was kidding about that a couple of weeks ago, didn't you? Well, word to your mother. Next week I get to pick the game and I'm thinking Quarters or Bullshit.) I mentioned that I was feeling bloated and weird and asked The Dancer directly if we were having "our period." She confirmed that we are.
Thankfully, The Actor/Ninja, was glued to his XBox Live game or running the neighborhood (you don't really expect me to be exacting about where a 13 year old boy is all the time, do you?) and thus, missed this episode of What's Up with My Vagina?. Since he's 13 and totes his genitals externally, he's just a bit put off by conversations about periods these days.
He's so squidgy about that stuff lately that his younger sister knows that a mere mention of it will set him off. "You know you came out of Mom's vagina," she'll taunt.
"Mom does NOT have a vagina." He must assert this, lest he crumple into a heap of sweating, heaving, wailing agony.
"So that explains it....." I began. Still, there was something more off than usual. A sort of crampiness that I'm not accustomed to. Then it occurred to me what it may be. My IUD is due to be replaced this month. So it has been five years already. Boy, time sure flies when you're having sex without the added thrills of birth control you have to remember or fuss with.
"I need to schedule an appointment to get checked under the hood and a replacement IUD," I announced. Maybe by saying this out loud to most of my immediate family, someone will remember to remind me to call for an appointment. None of them want any more siblings. Hell, we have to worry about them offing each other. Adding to the tally would be considered a disaster in this household.
MathMan**, ever helpful, was ready to help. "I can check under your hood," he offered.
The Dancer just groaned. I clicked my tongue and rolled my eyes. Garbo was thinking practically. "What about her IUD?" she asked. She was sure she'd found a flaw in his thinking.
"I have forceps in my toolbox. I'll even boil them first."
Another groan from The Dancer. More eye rolls and a heave sigh from me. Garbo still wasn't satisfied. "Yes, but you won't be able to replace the IUD," she chided him.
"I have paper clips," he smiled triumphantly.
I'd like to say here that I was stunned, but this is just so common around here that I don't know why it was even notable, except that maybe MathMan has hit upon an idea to lower health care costs.
Can't you just see it?
* This should not, in any way, be construed as confirmation that females actually poo.
** Thank you for picking up some Emergency M&Ms tonight, MathMan! I can't believe I allowed myself to run out this time of the month.
***I do have to write a post about a book I saw Sunday. That will push me further into the realm of poo-blogging. Fabulous!
Now turn your head and cough, please.